Education matters: man vs. machine

March 10, 2011

Editor's Note: Numerous instances of plagiarism have been discovered in Dan Kimber’s “Education Matters” column, which ran in the News- Press from September 2003 to September 2011. In those columns where plagiarism has been found, a For the Record specifying the details will be appended to the piece.

The man-versus-computer contest played out on Jeopardy last month resulted in a victory of artificial intelligence over human intelligence.

IBM is celebrating its centennial year, and the company’s supercomputer, Watson, demonstrated just how far computing technology has come. Its programmers built a machine that stumped the brightest minds, so hooray for technology!

Before I unleash upon you my annual mental challenge — Watson would not have fared so well with my 50 questions — I want to announce that at 7 p.m. on Monday, the annual Scholastic Bowl will be held at Glendale High School, pitting our high school’s four brightest kids against each other in a battle of the brains. I invite you all to come and see a group of our own 17- and 18-year-olds dazzle you with how much they know (and remind most of us how much we’ve forgotten).


What follows here is a mish-mesh of half-clues, subtle meanings, a few plays on words, and other complexities in which we humans excel and computers traditionally do not. I can think of 10 people who will do better than IBM’s brain child would have done. I give you an A for anything over 50%.


1. Actor brothers of actor father; they “spanned” the generations.

2. One of the Three Amigos who was a regular on SNL.

3. Where did Fats find his thrill?

4. The least-known original presidential cabinet member. (Precedes “Who’s there?”)

5. Six a.m. over and over again.

6. “South Pacific” song; major grooming problem.

7. Past president + Wright invention = 60s group.

8. Adjective to describe one of the 12 who was a skeptic.

9. Next line after, “plop, plop, fizz, fizz ……….”

10. Mick’s song, romantic suggestion, freaked out an older generation.

11. Henry’s son; ugly car.

12. Blank EKG for him now that he’s left S. Fran.

13. Young people in China; think of Kevorkian.

14. After she sang the song, the president might have gotten her to blow out the candles.

15. Dudley and Bo’s “performance” song.

16. A gasp in River City — they’ve got trouble, with a capital T which rhymes with P. Why?

Glendale News-Press Articles Glendale News-Press Articles